Sharon Russell joined the Onslow County Government team Sept. 5 as deputy county manager. She recently answered questions from The Daily News via email. These are her answers.
Name: Sharon Russell
Title: Deputy county manager for Onslow County
What is your background?
I am a North Carolina native, and I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina State University in Chemistry. I also have a Masters’ Degree in Communications, and I graduated magna cum laude with my Law Degree from Campbell University. I am an attorney and licensed to practice in North Carolina, but my legal career revolved around working with local governments. Prior to coming to work for Onslow County as Deputy County Manager, I was a civil litigator representing businesses, counties and cities that had been sued. I also previously served as Executive General Counsel to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, and I worked for the National Association of Counties in Washington, DC, where I managed national programs for counties and acted as a NACo liaison to the National League of Cities, the International Association of School Business Officials, and the US Conference of Mayors.
What do you love most about being the deputy county manager?
I work with some of the most talented, passionate and devoted people in all of Onslow County every single day, and I love my job. I also truly believe that local government is the best and most effective form of government. Every day we work to strengthen all of the best parts of living in Onslow County, while preserving the true culture and lifestyle of our community.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge is to not expect myself to know everything and everyone I need to know in this job immediately.
What does a typical day for you look like?
I am fortunate not to have any “typical” days, because my days are filled with variety. I work closely with County Manager David Cotton and our assistant county managers to carry out the vision of our county commissioners. I also participate in many meetings and initiatives with our local municipal, military, hospital, community college and school system partners. An important part of my job is managing a wonderful, diverse group of departments, including Emergency Services, Solid Waste, the Tax Office, the Libraries, the Museum, Information Technology Services and Geographical Technology Services, and the Albert J. Ellis Airport, so every day is different.
What do you hope to accomplish serving as the deputy county manager?
As deputy county manager, I hope to lead my team of department heads to become the best they can be as individuals and leaders, and to fully support County Manager David Cotton as he serves the citizens of our community and implements the priorities of our county commissioners.